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There is nothing like gender inequality…Natalie Usen opens up on gender issues, rape, marriage, childbearing etc

Natalie Usen, celebrated Public speaker, leader, entrepreneur, and business developer had an exclusive media chat with our firebrand journalist, Ethelbert Obinna Umeh. In the said chat, she talked about gender issues, her rape, rape awareness campaign, what drives her actions, her media consulting firm, etc. Below are excerpts:

Who is Natalie Usen?

I graduated as an Environmental Engineer from the University of Port Harcourt. I am a writer, Entrepreneur and a Business Developer. I manage several businesses which include Purple Signet Media, a firm which is into Media Consulting, Events Management, Business Branding, Business Development & Strategy and Capacity Building. Also, Luv Aise Collections, an e-commerce site for jewelry and accessories, I hope to begin production of jewelries and pure leather accessories someday. Lastly I write in and manage purecorals.com, a magazine blog and my personal blog, evolvewithnatalie.blogspot.com. I am the organizer of R.E.D. for Girls (Reorientation Empowerment and Development), a free program for young indigent women, aimed at building them mentally, financially and psychologically. I enjoy reading, travelling and nature. I hope to do my Masters program soon in Project Management and also acquire an MBA. Simply put, I’m a young lady with very big dreams!

Are you a victim of rape? What motivated your action?

I have been a victim of rape more than once so I know firsthand the trauma caused by rape. However my passion stems from more than my experiences. I was motivated by the alarming spate of rape sweeping across the Nation, some of little children as little as 3 years old, I felt I needed to do something about it however little. Also, I have also come to realize that most people in our Nation are ignorant of the traumatic effects rape has on its victims; how it alters their life and completely destroys the lives of some of its victims. I have always been of the opinion that perhaps people will be a little more outraged and less tolerant of this menace if they understood its consequences.
Secondly, I realized that most people do not really understand the concept of consent while most parents and family members enable the rape culture by protecting the rapists and choosing to silence the victim to avoid shame. I chose to do this campaign to enlighten the public and create a general awareness of what is going on in our society so people can be more sensitive and vigilant.

You seem to believe there is nothing like gender inequality; could you share why you believe this?

Well, aside the fact we have biological differences; I don’t see any difference between a man and woman so I don’t understand the concept of gender inequality. What makes one gender superior to the other, or one inferior? No one has been able to give me any logical answer to that question. Women may be unable to do everything a men does, however I think it applies both ways because men cannot do everything women are capable of therefore there is no yardstick for measuring superiority. As human beings, I believe we are all equal irrespective of gender or religion. Before the law, there is no inferior gender, if you commit a crime, the law doesn’t recognize your gender, and you are prosecuted as an individual. Women have a purpose, they should aspire without limitations, and they should pursue their passions, they should be allowed to lead without restrictions.

Tell us about the rape awareness walk you are planning in Port Harcourt, Nigeria

The Rape Awareness Walk is a sensitization program to raise awareness of the menace of rape that is sweeping across the Nation. We want people to know this thing is destructive and is eating away at the fabric of our society. We need to end the culture of silence which causes shame for the victims; we need to know there is no reason good enough to justify rape.

We want to call on the general public to come together to fight this evil and allow rapists face the full wrath of the law as rape is capital offence which carries the maximum penalty of life imprisonment. The exercise involves a peaceful road-walk by volunteers from CFC bus-stop to Isaac Boro Park, by Mile 1 bus-stop at 10am on the 26th of August in Port Harcourt. We also wish to use that opportunity to call on the State Government to domesticate the Child Right Act in Rivers State.

What does life mean to you?

Life for me means an opportunity to make the world a better place than I met it. I believe life is designed for us to improve the lives and welfare of others with what we have been blessed with; our skills, passions, work, resources, etc. However, life is unpredictable, we must be ready for anything; we need to be gritty and determined because nothing is promised, and sometimes life will beat you down so hard but you should never give up. If you don’t, you will overcome at the end.

What your advice to young girls that look up to you

They should be bold enough to be themselves; they should stop being afraid of social and religious constructs that try to define and restrict them. They should purse purpose and follow their passions; there is more to life than marriage and childbearing.

As a woman, you can make a difference where you are and in your own way, it doesn’t matter if no one believes in you or takes you seriously. Believe in yourself, save yourself instead of waiting for Prince Charming, add value to yourself and you will find unspeakable opportunities open up to you; in fact even the quality of those who come around you will change.

Also, do not pay for anything with your self-respect, you are capable of so much more than you can imagine, do not sell yourself short for instant gratification and never be afraid to speak your mind; you owe the world the blessing of you.
As a young lady, be a woman of value and always remind yourself, there are no limits!

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